Reactions to the Governor’s Budget

With this week’s winter weather, I have not had time to delve into the many details of Gov. Wolf’s budget proposals, but his address Tuesday has caused quite a stir. Many of the ideas involving education have been discussed for many years, but it is interesting to see all of them in one bold package. Here are some of my other reactions:


#BuckskinPrideOurs is a school community of more than 4,300 students, 600 educators and professionals and more than 30,000 residents. With so many individuals involved in the life of our school, we are bound to have our ups and downs. And have we ever.

I have been reflecting lately on several of these experiences—and so often come away filled with Buckskin Pride.

Community Forum: Participate in the Process

Education funding was a major issue in his campaign, and this week Gov. Tom Wolf unveiled a proposal for $1 billion in new education funding paid for by an extraction tax on natural gas. Whatever the merits or demerits of the tax, the proposal shines a spotlight on school funding as school boards begin to craft spending plans for the 2015-2016 school year.

You can learn about the state of Conestoga Valley’s budget and the challenges we face in the coming years at our next Community Forum, on Tuesday, Feb. 17 at Fritz Elementary. I wanted to preview some of the issues we hope to discuss.

Funding Commission: Start at the Beginning

As you may have heard, our state Legislature formed a commission to study the way it contributes to school funding in the Commonwealth. My guest blogger today is Phyllis Heverly Flesher, director of administrative services, with some insight into how state funding affects CV and which changes to the funding formula could mean for our schools and our taxpayers. GGH

For years, lawmakers and advocates from across the political spectrum have pointed out a key fact: Pennsylvania’s public schools are significantly more reliant on local revenue sources than many states. One study showed that the Commonwealth is nearly 20 percent behind the national average in its share of school funding. PA ranks 42nd out of 50 states.

Focus on the Positive

You may have seen last week in our local media (links omitted) or heard in our community that prosecutors released new details about the death of Miss Mathewson. I want to echo some of the sentiments in reaction to this matter that Brownstown principal Dr. Andy Graybill communicated to parents earlier this week.

In Rememberance

Best wishes to you and yours for a happy 2015.

Unfortunately, the holiday season was not as happy as it could have been for the CV community with the tragic loss of Nicole Mathewson the week before Christmas.  As I had time to reflect over this loss during the holidays, my appreciation for the strength and character of our staff as well as the genuine support from the larger education community has grown even more.

Remembering Miss Mathewson

NOID1Q02017I never imagined writing a blog post about something like this.

It has been a difficult week at Conestoga Valley. All of us continue to absorb the loss of our colleague, Nicole Mathewson. The senseless and tragic circumstances of her death stand in stark contrast to the way she lived her life—encouraging, uplifting, filled with positive energy. She was passionate about teaching mathematics and innovative in using technology. Her classroom was always engaging, even occasionally silly. And she always held her students to a high standard of achievement in math. How could she not, a student reminded me, when her name began with “Math”?

Can You Give a Legacy as a Gift?

FanZoneAt Conestoga Valley, you can!

I’m referring, of course, to the gift of an engraved brick paver in the Buckskin FanZone, to be constructed in our new stadium prior to the start of the fall sports season in 2015. The FanZone will be a gathering place for all visitors to CV’s refurbished athletic stadium honoring all members of the community who lent their support to the years-long endeavor.